Danielle Hutchison

Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Notre Dame

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A career in STEM is definitely challenging, but it can also be incredibly rewarding.

What do you do?

I study the chemistry of compounds containing radioactive elements (like uranium) to understand how these compounds behave in solution and under high pressure conditions.

Why did you choose this field?

My dad has a background in science and he would always try to engage me in science activities as a kid. In high school it was one of my favorite subjects so I decided to major in biochemistry in college. I had the opportunity to do research in inorganic chemistry as an undergrad and decided to explore that field further in graduate school. In graduate school I studied metal-oxo clusters and their behavior in solution. As a postdoc I am doing similar work, but specifically focused on actinides.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

When I was younger I wish I would have known that it was possible to have a child while in graduate school and still complete my PhD. Also, I wish I would have known about the great opportunities that grad school can provide. I've been able to travel the world, present my research at conferences, and meet amazing scientists that I wouldn't have otherwise.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love being able to learn something new every day. A lot of days I'm learning what DOESN'T work, but that makes the successes all the more rewarding.

Best advice for next generation?

A career in STEM is definitely challenging, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Don't ever let anyone tell you that women can't be scientists/engineers.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. - Marie Curie

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